Spotlight On: Sheila Ngoc Pham

Each month we shine our spotlight on a member of the NSW Writers' Centre community to learn more about their writing journey, achievements and inspirations. This month we are delighted to feature Sheila Ngoc Pham, accomplished creative non-fiction writer and 2015 CAL WestWords Western Sydney Emerging Writers’ Fellow. Sheila grew up in South-West Sydney, reading books set in faraway places and writing letters ...

Barbara Brooks on what makes a good memoir

Barbara Brooks has published short memoir, essays and fiction, and an acclaimed biography, Eleanor Dark: A Writer's Life. Her essays and stories have been published in Europe, Asia and the US as well as Australia. She is a highly regarded teacher of writing and has taught at a number of universities. How did you come to write memoir professionally?It's the genre ...

Book Review: The Crying Place by Lia Hills

Stark white mourning caps, moulded from gypsum and weighing up to seven kilos, were fitted over the shaven skulls of Aboriginal mourners in the Simpson Desert; the grieving period lasting until the caps fell off and were laid on the grave. Not to be properly mourned was a terrible thing. A deep and poetic probing of the nature of grief, Lia ...

Event Recap: From Sci Fi to Cli Fi

Climate change is the crisis of this generation. Speaking at NSW Writers' Centre's Speculative Fiction Festival, Australian author James Bradley argued that as our defining social condition, the global environmental emergency provides the backdrop to literature written today. “All fiction now is anthropocene fiction,” he said in response to a question concerning the shifting attitudes towards climate change in writing over ...

Book Review: Half Wild by Pip Smith

Sometimes there are characters that are just so complex and so nuanced, that capturing them on a page can be overwhelming. This can be even more difficult when those characters also happen to be real-world historical figures. In Half Wild, author Pip Smith re-examines the life of Eugenia Falleni – a trans man from New Zealand, charged with the death ...

Book Review: The Metronome by Jennifer Maiden

Jennifer Maiden returns triumphantly and with a diligence enviable to most poets. The Metronome is her third poetry collection in as many years, jam-packed full of her famed conversational vignettes. Some time ago I reviewed Maiden’s Drones and Phantoms, so to discover another collection teeming with imagined conversations between historical figures was less about being disappointed with similarity and more about ...

Lee Kofman on emotional honesty in memoir

Lee Kofman is the author of four books, including the memoir The Dangerous Bride, and is co-editor of Rebellious Daughters, an anthology of prominent Australian memoirists. Her short works have been widely published in Australia, UK, Scotland, Israel, Canada and US. She's worked as a writing mentor and teacher for 14 years. What do you think makes memoir such a popular ...

Book Review: See What I Have Done by Sarah Schmidt

In the summer of 1892, Andrew Borden and his second wife, Abby, were viciously murdered in their Fall River home with an axe. Andrew’s daughter, Elizabeth (Lizzie), was tried for the murders but later acquitted. See What I Have Done by debut author Sarah Schmidt is a fictional retelling of those infamous murders. This account focuses on the events leading up ...

Book Review: Her Mother’s Secret by Natasha Lester

Her Mother’s Secret by Natasha Lester begins on Armistice Day, 1918, in a small town in England. Leonora (Leo) East has spent the war helping her father run his chemist while making women’s cosmetics on the side. Her dream is to change the way the world perceives cosmetics and the women who wear them. When her father succumbs to influenza, ...

Thang Ngo on running a successful blog

Thang Ngo runs the blog noodlies, one of Australia’s most influential food and lifestyle blogs. A blogger for 17 years, his writing has been published in Good Food, Feast Magazine, the Drum and Tigerair’s inflight magazine. He is also a contributor for the SBS News opinion section.  What were your expectations when you first started your blog? I started blogging because I had a passion, but had no goals and pretty much ...

Writing On Our Calendar: August 2017

August 1: From Intervention to Media Attention – Sam’s Best Shot When ABC’s Australian Story aired ‘My Son Sam,’ the story of Dr James Best taking his autistic son, Sam, on a gap year of sorts through Southern Africa, the ensuing commentary always came back to the very premise of the trip – displacement as a positive intervention for an autistic ...

Book Review: Party Girls Die in Pearls by Plum Syke

It’s 1985 and Nancy Drew is surrounded by the cast of Clueless. Wait, no. It’s Ursula Flowerbutton’s first day at Oxford where she is about to start her journey as an undergraduate among the rich and elite. Ursula is a middle class girl in the midst of, not just the super wealthy, but also, the royals (or their distant relatives). But she ...

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